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A young boy is forced to be a spokesman for ISIS. HIs message, "We are here to slaughter you." Screenshot from YouTube and Frontline PBS
You are already well familiar with Salafi jihadist organizations. ISIS (or Daesh) is one example. Al Qaeda is another. Salafi jihadism is an ideology, a belief. The Rand Corporation offers us the following definition,
“Salafism is a heterogenous Islamist movement that ‘believes in progress through regression, where the perfect life is [realized] by reviving the Islam of the first three generations’ of the umma.”
Furthermore, they define Salafis as “ultra-conservative Islamists engaging in sociopolitical acts that emphasize the hyper-unity of the early umma, absolute monotheism (tawhid), and rejection of alternative Islamic views (bid’a).” Salafi jihadis take up arms to impose their ideology on the rest of the world. These are the bad guys.
ISIS is still active in Syria. They have recently increased the frequency of their attacks in the central region of that nation after showing a decrease in activity in January. In western-central Syria, they have been targeting truffle harvesters and local shepherds. Closer to the Euphrates, they seek our military targets. Why truffles and sheep? They slaughter stolen sheep by the hundreds to feed their hungry troops. Truffles are worth a lot of money, a kind of fungal currency if you will. In the Syrian city of Hama, ISIS sells their ill-gotten gains for up to $11 per pound and uses the funds to further terrorist activity.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports that the Somali Federal Government, or SFG, has eyes toward a significant offensive against the terrorist group al-Shabaab in the near future. In recent weeks the African nation has received an influx of funding from international sources.
The Somalis will not undertake the offensive alone. On March 2nd, the Somali national security advisor publicly announced that Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti would send troops to support a “search and destroy” mission. They will fall under the command of local security forces and should be in place in the next couple of months.
The US will also be playing a role, sending over 60 tons of weapons and ammunition to US-trained Danab special forces, a highly trained Somali Army commando group. The Danab, or “Lightening” Brigade, was formed in 2014 as a counter-terrorism combat task force specifically to take on the Islamic militants of al-Shabab, who seek to overthrow the legitimate Somali government. Sources indicate they are funded almost entirely by the United States government.
According to the Pulitzer Prize Center, US funding for Danab was first done through the State Department. It was used to pay for the services of a private military contractor (PMC) named Bancroft Global Development. Bancroft set up Danab and has been training and advising the elite unit for the past several years. I might note that many Bancroft personnel are not Americans. Quite a few are British and South African members who are not bound by the same rules of engagement (ROE) as US military members.
The Islamic State Khorasan Province militants (ISKP), a sort of regional affiliate of ISIS, have been ramping up their attacks on civilians associated with the local Taliban government. On March 8th, they assassinated the head of the Herat municipal water supply, a relatively low-level public official. They typically set their sights on higher-ranking Taliban officials, Taliban soldiers, or religious minorities that they find distasteful. Things got ugly on March 5th when the ISKP released a statement condemning the Taliban’s killing of women and children in recent anti-ISKP raids. In the statement, they threatened to start killing Taliban family members.
In an ever-increasing circle of violence and death, the Taliban may respond to these latest threats by increasing their anti-ISKP activities in hopes of limiting ISKP attacks on Taliban soldiers and public officials. Earlier Taliban operations targeting the ISKP resulted in the torture and summary executions of suspected ISKP supporters. These actions on the part of both groups contribute to the destabilization of the Afghan nation as a whole.
In February, the Afghan Taliban killed the ISKP leader for Indian operations, Ejaz Ahmad Ahangar, in Kabul. Ahangar was considered a valuable ISKP asset because he lived in Afghanistan, where he recruited Indian ISKP members to carry out missions, most notably including attacks in Kabul and Jalalabad in 2020. On March 4th, the ISKP claimed responsibility for two small attacks in India, one in October last year and the other in November.
ISKP had never launched an attack in India previously and, if verified, would notably expand the terror group’s area of operations, which is now mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Indian security forces state that the ISKP is probably overstating its role in the attacks. In one instance, they claimed the wrong location for the attack.
ISIS Duo Lit Up at Close Range
Video courtesy of YouTube and FUNKER530
If you were wondering, this is NOT how a professional fighting force would execute an effective linear ambush. There were too many shooters, fields of fire were not established, let alone adhered to, and it resulted in a friendly fire incident. Lots of other issues as well. On the plus side, this ended up being the bad guy’s last truck ride.
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